C1870. FRITZ REINER Cond.Chicago Orch.: 'Eroica' Symphony #3; Fidelio Overture, Op.72b; Coriolan Overture (all Beethoven). RCA Stereo 60962, recorded 1954-59. Final Sealed Copy! - 090266096220
"First off, the ‘Eroica’ from 1954, which is in mono despite the fact that Reiner recorded Strauss' DON JUAN two days later in excellent Living Stereo. The existence of a stereo version is still debated by collectors.
I've reviewed the superlative Fifth and Seventh in detail elsewhere - I would put them near the top of my list of favorites. Both sound better in their Living Stereo version than here. The ‘Eroica’ and ‘Pastorale’ badly need remastering also, but you can't ask for everything at this price. These performances are at the Toscanini-Szell end of the spectrum. Reiner takes mostly fast tempos, uses little rubato, and keeps a lean, tensile line. But putting a great conductor in a category is futile. His way with Beethoven is unique to himself. The CSO certainly far outclasses Toscanini's NBC Symphony in execution, and Reiner is never as brusque as Szell. These are thrilling performances in terms of ensemble and precise execution - perhaps a bit too precise in the Scherzo and finale of the ‘Eroica’, which show some sacrifice of emotional depth.
In sum, it's hard to imagine a finer colleciton of Beethoven from the golden age of stereo, even if the sonics aren't quite as golden as they could be.”
- Huntley Dent, 10 Jan., 2006